Australia: New Reform Bill Aims to Protect Workers, Define Casual Employment

The Australian government aims to pass legislation this year that clearly defines the “casual worker.” Planned legislation would require employers to offer casual workers part-time or full-time roles after 12 months if a regular pattern of hours worked was established for the preceding six months. There would also be stiffer penalties for companies that deliberately underpay employees.

As noted in previous Compliance Monitor updates, Australia’s bill defines casual employees as those who work without any firm, advanced promise of regular, ongoing shifts. Such workers must also receive a Casual Employee Information Statement.

The government’s action comes after months of conversation among the federal government, industry groups, unions and employers about key industrial relations reforms to the Fair Work Act 2009. Those talks culminated in the government’s introduction of the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 into Parliament. The bill has since been referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee for review, with the likelihood of passage unknown. Some groups praise the consensus-building efforts to drive change, while others see some proposed reforms as potentially damaging to employees.

Takeaway: Defining casual workers is a challenge many countries face. The issue is important as employers seek to avoid exposure to high fees related to back-paid entitlements due to misclassification and provide rightful employees with benefits they are entitled to receive. Ending confusion would help companies comply with obligations while protecting workers’ rights. A workforce solutions expert like AGS can help businesses avoid misclassification errors through careful audit and data analysis capabilities. The result is better visibility and more informed engagement of the flexible workforce.


Coronavirus Considerations for Businesses

North America

US: Biden Administration Freezes Proposed Regulations on Worker Classification

US & Canada: Both Employees and Contractors are Among Growing Alphabet Workers Union

US: H1-B Electronic Registration Process Could Undergo Changes

US: Age Discrimination Claim Denied in Worker Performance Case


UK: AGS Launches IR35 Resource Site to Help Companies Prepare for April Countdown

UK: Points-Based Immigration System Updated

UK: Brexit Trade Deal Excludes Financial Services, With Data Sharing and Privacy Rules to Come

Poland & Hungary: EU Ruling Influences Posting of Workers and Services Across Region


India: A Government-Mandated Wage Code Restructuring Could Boost Retirement Income

China: Heavier Penalties for Violating Workplace Safety Measures Being Considered

This update contains general information only, and AGS is not rendering legal advice. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult qualified legal counsel. AGS shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person or company who relies on this update.